BJD Veteran and Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha Anang Uday Singh Deo today alleged that the Council of State has been undermined in the passing of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill that changes the structure of federal finances in India.
Speaking in the Upper House of the Parliament, Mr.Singh Deo said the GST bill was introduced as a money bill and it renders the voice of Rajya Sabha as recommendatory.
He added when the GST was conceived, it was supposed to be a single uniform rate across all product categories.
“But the shape that GST has taken is far removed from the actual concept of one country-one tax”, Mr.Singh Deo said.
He added that GST involves a multi-tier tax structure with four different tax rates—5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.
“There are a total of seven rates under the GST including exemptions, lower rate on bullion, cesses and surcharges.
This defeats the purpose of GST and makes the one nation-one tax theory a myth”, the senior Parliamentarian said.
Mr.Singh Deo said an ideal GST regime intends to create a harmonized system of taxation by subsuming all indirect taxes under one tax.
It seeks to address challenges with the current indirect tax regime by broadening the tax base, eliminating cascading of taxes, increasing compliance and reducing economic distortions caused by inter-State variations in taxes.
He added that the GST bill as introduced and later passed in Lok Sabha does not address the concerns of the earlier complicated tax regime.
Notably, the Lok Sabha had passed as many as four bills related to GST.
These were Central Goods and Services Tax, Integrated-GST, Goods and Services Tax (compensation to states) and union territory GST (UTGST).
The bills were introduced as Money Bills in the Lok Sabha.
Since, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lacks the numbers in Rajya Sabha, it is alleged that the introduction of GST bill as Money Bill was meant to ensure its hassle-free passage in the lower house of the parliament.
With this, Rajya Sabha would not be able to reject the Bill and can only recommend changes which may or may not be included in the Bill.